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Paris Motor Show: Lotus Blitz Includes Six New Models

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On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 10:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Paris Motor Show: Lotus Blitz Includes Six New Models

If we had to think of one word to describe the Paris Motor Show, it would be "Lotus." We knew that Lotus was going to be hitting the show hard; way back on the first day of summer Lotus gave a hint that it had something big in store, and later reports indicated that Lotus was bringing four new model concepts to the show. As it turns out, Lotus bombarded the show with no less than six brand new concepts, showing that it has serious plans for the future.

CEO Dany Behar said of Lotus' future plans: "Our plan is to change Lotus from its present position as a niche sports car company to a builder of a range of premium sports cars."

If given the green light, Lotus' six new concepts will all be heading to market between now and 2016, according to company plans. We already looked at the most exciting Lotus announcement—the new 2014 Esprit, and here's a breakdown of the rest of Lotus' debuts:

2013 Elan—Unlike Elans of the past, this model will be a hard-top. It's powered by a pressure-charged 450-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine and will be offered in a 2+2. Though it's not as powerful as the Esprit, it's able to offer some competitive numbers, thanks to its 2,849-pound curb weight; 0 to 60 mph comes in 3.5 seconds and the Elan doesn't stop until it hits 193 mph. Like the Esprit, the Elan will be available with KERS. Estimated price is given at under $120,000, so it looks like the Esprit will probably be leaning a little closer to $175,000 than $110,000, as reported by Car and Driver. Depending upon that difference, Lotus might have a difficult time making a case for the Elan, since it looks a lot like a plainer, watered down Esprit—the convertible might have been a better choice.

2015 Eterne—Essentially an Esprit packed into the body of a four-door coupe version of the Elite, the Eterne is powered by the same 620-hp 5.0-liter V8 as the new Esprit. The car will be offered with an optional hybrid drive system comprising KERS and electric motors. Of course, that extra junk in the trunk slows the four-door down over the Esprit, but not by too much: 60 mph comes in 4 seconds and top speed is 196 mph. Lotus' first sedan has an estimated price of $190,000.

2015 Elise—The Lotus Elise will be getting a full makeover for the 2015 model year. The Elise concept we see here gets a substantial boost in capability thanks to a 320-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. That engine will be paired with a six-speed manual or optional dual-clutch. Smaller engines will also be offered. The car is said to be easier to get in and out of than the current generation model. Though it gains weight, it's still a skinny 2,409 lbs. As such, it will make it to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds. Projected base price is $55,000, about $16K more than the current Elise.

Elite—The Elite is powered by the same 5.0-liter V8 engine as the Esprit and Eterne, only without pressure charging, bringing a 'mere' 542 horses. We did a full article on the Elite when it was previewed last week, so you can find out more there.

City Car—You knew there had to be a break from pure sportiness somewhere, and Lotus' last introduction today is definitely a break from the others. Based on the Proton EMAS concept shown in Geneva, the new city car is designed to work with either an all-electric powertrain or a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 1.2-liter gas engine. Early reports are that this is the least likely of all the concepts to make production (thank you!), but if it does get approved, expect it in 2014.

It remains to be seen how successful Lotus will be at bringing all these brand new models to market so close together. While the models are all attractive in their own right, much of the styling, pricing, specs, performance, and options are so similar that it makes one wonder how Lotus expects to market these as unique options. At the very least, they may want to consider a model name that doesn't begin with "E"—I know that's their thing and all, but it's getting damn confusing.

One thing's for sure: Lotus is determined to push its name into the conversation with Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche, and other premium sports brands.

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